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NBA Odds, Picks, Preview: Best Bets for Saturday’s Thunder vs. Cavaliers Matchup (January 22)

NBA Odds, Picks, Preview: Best Bets for Saturday’s Thunder vs. Cavaliers Matchup (January 22) article feature image
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Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jarrett Allen

  • It's a small Saturday slate in the NBA with only three games on the schedule.
  • Our experts have their eyes on one in particular, and are betting it three ways.
  • See how they're betting Thunder vs. Cavaliers, below.

While many eyes will be on Saturday’s NFL Playoff games, there’s still plenty of value to be found in NBA action.

It’s a small, three-game slate today, and two of our experts have their eyes on one game in particular: Oklahoma City vs. Cleveland.

We’ve got three picks in total, including a full-game spread, first-half spread and a total.

Here are our best bets from Saturday’s game between the Thunder and Cavs.

NBA Odds & Picks

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Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
8 p.m. ET
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
8 p.m. ET

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Pick
Thunder +12.5
Book
BetMGM
Tipoff
8 p.m. ET
TV
NBA TV

Brandon Anderson: It’s been profitable betting on the Thunder as big underdogs this season.

It wasn’t always that way. Oklahoma City struggled mightily early in the season, losing by 21 points to the Jazz and the Warriors as double-digit underdogs and failing to cover or come close in either October game.

But something changed at the start of November. This young Thunder team figured out how to show up and fight hard even in games with the odds stacked against them. OKC was a double-digit dog again to the Clippers but fought all the way and came up just short of a win, but covered easily. A few nights later, the Thunder were double-digit dogs to the Lakers but beat them outright. Oklahoma City finished the month 5-0 ATS as double-digit dogs, and the trend has continued going forward.

Since the start of November, the Thunder are an impressive 10-2 ATS. They’ve only won one of those games outright (that Lakers game) and had the ugly 152-79 loss to the Grizzlies in there, but outside of that one, Oklahoma City is covering by an average of 6.8 PPG in these games as double-digit dogs.

The Cavs have been one of the league’s finest teams against the spread on the season, but Cleveland hasn’t been as strong over the past month. Since December 28, the Cavs are just 7-6 with only two wins by more than seven points. The Cavs had won 10 of 12 before this stretch, every win by double digits, so you can see the drop off. This team hasn’t been quite the same without its injured guards.

I’ll stick with the trend and back the Thunder as big road dogs here, even on the second night of a back-to-back. Oklahoma City just fights hard all the way and makes things difficult on teams. I’ll play to +11.

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Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Pick
Cavs 1H -7 & Under 209
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
8 p.m. ET
TV
NBA TV

Austin Wang: The Cleveland Cavaliers and Oklahoma City Thunder face off for the second time in a one-week span. The Cavaliers beat the Thunder 107-102 in Oklahoma City last Saturday. The Thunder had built up a big lead against the Cavaliers, who were on the second half of a back-to-back. The Thunder had a 10-point lead going into halftime, but the Cavaliers came roaring back in the second half to win the game.

The Cavaliers are ranked third in Defensive Rating (105.4), per NBA Advanced Stats. This has been no surprise. Their twin towers of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley have been terrorizing teams with their size and length.

The Thunder, on the other hand, are ranked dead-last in Offensive Rating (101.8). With these teams already have played last Saturday, they are familiar with one another.

I anticipate a smart team like the Cavaliers to make the necessary adjustments to avoid making the same mistakes in their last matchup. They play at a slow pace (22nd in the league) and I expect them to control the tempo of this game this time around.

With the Thunder on the second night of a back-to-back and having to travel overnight, I see the Cavaliers jumping out to an early lead and not looking back. This should set up a nice game script for an under.

It is no longer a secret that the Cavaliers are first half warriors. Per our Bet Labs, the Cavaliers are 32-14 (69.4%) ATS this season in the first half, 16-5 ATS when they are at home. Their net rating in the first half is second in the league at +8.6, while the Thunder are 27th (-11.0) in that category.

My plays for today are Cavaliers -7 in the first half and the under on the total of 209 (down to 208).


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